The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday that it has tightened controls on machine tool exports to prevent their use by Russia in its war against Ukraine, after the Washington Post reported a few Taiwanese companies had sold US$20 million of equipment which ended up in the hands of Russian arms makers.
The ministry's response came after the Washington Post reported on Thursday that since January last year, Russian company I Machine Technology has imported over US$20 million of sophisticated equipment called CNC machine tools. The tools are made in Taiwan, including by a similarly named Taiwanese trading company called I Machine Tools Corp (集盛).
The computer-controlled machines are used for complex and precise manufacturing that is critical to many industries, including weapons production, the Post reported.
The ministry said the measures it has adopted to prevent similar reoccurrences included placing I Machine Technology, which is accused of re-directing Taiwanese-made precision equipment to Russian arms makers, on a blacklist last month.
The list has so far banned 1,900 entities from receiving such products from manufacturers, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, it has also requested Taiwanese manufacturers exporting to countries such as Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, which are considered to have a high risk of reshipping the products, to agree not to redirect shipments to Russia and Belarus.
In addition, the penalty for first-time violations of exporting to Russia has been increased by over 15 times to NT$1 million (US$32,055), the ministry said.
The Post said those shipments imported by I Machine Technology probably violated prohibitions Taiwan and the West imposed in January last year on the sale of technology to Russia, in response to the Ukraine war.
Both I Machine Technology and the Taiwan-based I Machine Tools have denied such accusations, stressing that the shipments involved only spare parts that were not subject to export controls, the report said.
According to the Post, the MOEA had declined to comment on whether the Taiwanese companies identified in its report had violated the export controls, but said in a statement that the Taiwanese government is planning to bar local companies from selling their goods to I Machine Technology out of concern they could be used for weapons production.
ECONOMY TWEAK: Lowering the rate would allow more cities in China to reduce minimum mortgage rates for homebuyers, which might stimulate sluggish demand China yesterday ramped up support for its property sector with its biggest-ever cut to a key mortgage reference rate, raising expectations for more aggressive measures to support the economy in the months to come. Chinese lenders slashed their five-year loan prime rate (LPR) by 25 basis points to 3.95 percent, the People’s Bank of China said. It was the first cut since June last year and the largest reduction since a revamp of the rate was rolled out in 2019. Lowering that rate will allow more cities in China to reduce minimum mortgage rates for homebuyers, which might stimulate sluggish demand for apartments
OVERSEAS: The company is expanding with OSAT development in India, an EV factory in Thailand and possibly an 12-inch fab in Malaysia, Young Liu said Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), the world’s largest contract electronics maker, is expected to forge deeper and more comprehensive collaborations with its main customer Apple Inc, the company’s chairman said on Tuesday. Speaking before a dinner banquet on Tuesday to mark the company’s 50th anniversary, Hon Hai chairman Young Liu (劉揚偉) said that the two companies would forge a deeper and more extensive partnership. “Everything that should be there will be there and nothing will be missed,” Liu said, when asked about the progress made in Hon Hai’s collaborations with Apple in the artificial intelligence and electric vehicle (EV) fields. Hon
UP AND DOWN: Although average regular monthly pay rose 2.43 percent to NT$45,496 last year, sharper inflation of 2.5 percent drove real monthly wages down 0.05 percent The labor market improved last year with a rise in employment, as well as monthly take-home pay and total wages, but faster inflation wiped out those increases, the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said yesterday. The industrial and service sectors hired 7,000 people, a 0.09 percent increase from the previous year, to grow the workforce to 8.17 million people, as retailers, hospitality and tourism companies benefited from “revenge” consumption in the post-COVID-19-pandemic era, the agency said. Strong consumer spending more than offset a slowdown that hit manufacturers and shrank their payroll by 0.74 percent, it said. Steep global inflation and monetary
SLOWING DOWN: Last year, new investment in China from Taiwanese firms fell to its lowest since 2001, while that of Japanese firms also fell to a 10-year low Foreign businesses’ direct investment into China last year increased by the lowest amount since the early 1990s, underscoring challenges for the nation as Beijing seeks more overseas funds to help its economy. China’s direct investment liabilities in its balance of payments was US$33 billion last year, data released on Sunday by the Chinese State Administration of Foreign Exchange showed. That measure of new foreign investment into the country — which records monetary flows connected to foreign-owned entities in China — was 82 percent lower than the 2022 level and the lowest since 1993. The data show the effect of COVID-19 lockdowns and weak